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Riccardo Ricco cleared to race

6/7/2011

ROME -- Cyclist Riccardo Ricco has been cleared to race for the third-division Meridiana-Kamen team while he waits for his latest doping case to be resolved.

The Gazzetta dello Sport reports that the UCI has registered Ricco with the Italian-managed and Croatian-licensed team.

He plans to make his team debut in the Tour of Serbia beginning on Monday.

Ricco has not raced since he was rushed to a hospital after feeling ill at his home near Modena in February. The doctor who treated him reportedly told police that Ricco admitted transfusing his own blood, which he allegedly kept in his home refrigerator.

Ricco denies the allegations.

If a transfusion is proven, Ricco could face a lengthy ban from the Italian Olympic Committee, having already tested positive for the advanced blood-booster CERA after winning two mountain stages in the 2008 Tour de France. That resulted in a 20-month suspension.

Ricco was fired by Dutch team Vacansoleil-DCM and is also facing an inquiry from the public prosecutor in Modena.